Archive for Ambiance
If you enjoy the feel of late night and the pounding of live music through your veins, here are a few haunts in which to consider hanging.
Vega’s [Old Sacramento] – Mix of History and Haunted Club – This underground establishment doesn’t require a password to get in, but it has managed to remain a bit of a secret. It’s not exactly romantic, but seems to beg for a little intimacy while you’re there. Explore all the crannies in which to cuddle up with a partner and then bundle up for some cozy time by the outdoor fireplace. They (pretty much) only serve beer and wine (and a mysterious homemade punch if you dare), but it’s worth a dip into the underground and the building is as old as Old Sac gets. 910 2nd Street
The Boardwalk [Orangevale] – Bonafide Long-time Rockin’ Establishment – The Boardwalk has been hosting local and not-so-local hard rock and heavy metal bands and fans since 1987. A somewhat small and dark venue tucked into a vacuum-like section of Sacramento’s suburbs, its sound quality keeps bringing them back for more. They serve lots of fried food and are open to all ages, so don’t be surprised to see a few adolescents roaming the premises. While it’s not exactly an enchanting place, it doesn’t claim to be such. http://www.boardwalkrocks.com
On the Y [Arden-Arcade] – Dive Bar Meets Metal Madness – With that dive bar atmosphere, On the Y could simply be perfect for a cold beer (known for being “the coldest in town”). But late at night it comes alive with the sounds of screaming voices and thrashing instruments. A respected venue for hard-core music, On the Y manages to contain order with the music tidily tucked away in a corner, so you can still hold a conversation should you choose. If you prefer a more mainstream vein, they also host karaoke regularly. 670 Fulton Avenue
Shenanigans [Downtown] – Two-Headed Musical Monster – Not too many late night venues have two levels with such different feels. Shenanigans has a stage for all kinds of live music upstairs, while downstairs is all about DJs, dancing and dark corners. You might also just stop by early in the evening for a game of bar Jenga, plate of club grub, and chat with a friendly monkey (stuffed or otherwise). http://www.shenaniganssacramento.com
A popular river restaurant, bar, hangout and boat dock, Crawdads is a well-known party place amongst boaters, river rats and restless after-work crowds. Featuring live music during the summer months, Thursdays through Sundays, the often-serene place gets more boisterous as the night progresses. Happy Hours feature good drink specials while weekends feature $2 Bloody Marys and Mimosas (with the former being much better than the latter). The food is hit or miss or just-missed-the-mark, probably just depending on what you order. The service is usually friendly and good, and the beers wet and sloppy. The scenery? The clencher that makes this place continue to draw them in from both land and sea.
When I was a little younger, more rebellious version of myself, my friends and I snuck into Fairytale Town one debaucherous night. Running the crooked mile, climbing the tree house, playing on the swiss cheese, the dusty barn animal scent, the thrill of doing something forbidden… it was exhilarating to the young-hearted young adult in me (and no animals were harmed in the making of this adventure).
Today, the memories of Fairytale Town stay with me, as we both grow and evolve into our best grown-up selves. So I’m proud to share news about what’s new at FTT:
SHAKESPERIMENT 2011, a new extension of their popular and successful Fairytale Town Troupers program! ‘The first production will be a brand new one-act adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Fairies & Fools!”, featuring young actors ages 12 to 21. This innovative and original production focuses on the disharmony between the King and Queen of Fairyland and a group of bumbling actors who unwittingly cross their paths. It’s a fun and family-friendly romp filled with music, magic, mirth, and mayhem.’
WHEN: February 19-February 27, 2011
As for the serious side of FTT, due to a City Ordinance, adults cannot be admitted to Fairytale Town unless accompanied by a child. (woops)
[Photo from: Californiadaytrips.blogspot.com]
It was Dawn’s 40th birthday. She wanted to get her friends together to celebrate. So adorned with tiara, boa and free drink tickets, she boarded a limo bound for anyplace fun. First stop: The Corner Restaurant & Bar in East Sacramento. It wasn’t crowded, but full enough to be standing room only for eight 40-is-the-new-30-year-old chicks. We ordered a round of drinks to begin the night. Some of the patrons seemed a little uncomfortable about our presence, as if we were going to disturb their quiet, serene atmosphere. While I can’t say I blame them – they probably thought we were a bachelorette party, hell-bent on one last hurrah – it was the first stop, people! How much trouble were we going to get into that early?! Anyway, a few others at the bar were really friendly, just wondering where we were headed next. Before we slipped out the door, however, the bartender bought us all a round of no-named pink shots that tasted a little like a Flintstone vitamin. But better.
Next stop: Bulls. It’s a fairly new place with a catch: a mechanical bull. But it’s a real cow’s head (sad) with a missing eye (sadder). The place is not a country bar, per se. They play all kinds of music and is really just a regular restaurant/bar (minus the one-eyed cow-bull). It wasn’t very crowded yet, but again, we were out early, so most of us took a ride on the wild side. I sort of liked the casual vibe of the place with its glamorous country accents, but the customer service left something big to be desired (saddest of all).
All aboard the limo for one more casual stop before the finale: Shady Lady (You’ve got to pronounce that like you’re woo-ing it… er, her). Now this place was hopping. I’ve been here a couple of times during the day, but nothing beats the nighttime ambiance. With some sultry acoustical music playing in the background, the velvet wallpaper, period lighting and old-fashioned menu, this place was classy and satisfying.
Final destination: MIX Downtown. First off, you’ve always got to mind the time at these places. According to our watches, we arrived in time to get in for free, with 7 minutes to spare. According to the guy at the door, we were 7 minutes too late. Luckily, our limo driver confirmed our clocks and up the stairs we went. Most – if not all – of us had been to the Mix before. We like it because it caters more to 30 and 40-year-olds than the younger crowd and has with a cool, grown-up atmosphere and open-air patio for minglaxing – mingling and relaxing). So we dove right in and pretty much danced the night away, despite there being an unusually-younger crowd on this night and the bartenders being a little too cool for school.
All in all, a bunch of 40-something-year-olds staying up until 1:30 is an amazing feat. But when the company’s good and there’s a reason to celebrate, not much is going to get us down.
In the New World that was America in the 1920s, the land of opportunity unwittingly welcomed both the good and the bad. Or perhaps all that possibility – and in some cases hardship – helped create and shape some lives and characters for the worst.
My husband and I like to watch the television show ‘Boardwalk Empire’, even though we’re not as dazzled by it as we’d hoped. What keeps me hanging on is the historical significance (and I’m not ashamed to say, beautiful clothes). But now I’m even more intrigued about what transpired during (and after) the Prohibition years, because I can literally see how my own backyard was affected by it.
Downtown Sacramento Partnership gives a Speakeasy Tour (and Pub Crawl) on the 3rd Saturday of every month. I was surprised how many people showed up this past weekend, considering it was raining hard enough to flood the old town once again. But with umbrellas and curiosities in hand, we followed the easy-speaking tour guide Shawn Peter from place to place, hearing stories about what transpired underground, both literally and figuratively.
I’m not going to give all the good stuff away – because the tour is really worth its $10 price and the two hours you’ll spend peering into the past – but it’s not hard to imagine Old Sacramento as it was back then and how it too succumbed to the “new world” of the “underground”. Just imagine a bustling new Gold Rush town, how the city itself was not supportive of Prohibition, and all that sprouted from the rich soil of possibility.
Sacramento’s rivers became the West’s major alcohol trade routes, the city’s literal underground labyrinth became littered with “illegal” activities, businessmen turned into crime bosses, boats became floating bars, and speakeasies cropped up everywhere from attics to high schools.
The quality of liquor went down while its demand went up, bathtubs turned multi-functional, and trap doors became all the rage. People learned how to be sneaky, how to get around the law, and how to love the allure of things forbidden. Others learned how to utilize the laws now in place to make a fortune and seal their questionable fates.
Old Sacramento, still looking much the way it did back then, is full of intrigue, ambiance and charm, especially at night when the lights dim, the sights soften, and the separation between then and now blurs. When down in an old dark basement bar, it’s easy to imagine oneself alive during the tumultuous time of Prohibition… The question is: what kind person would it have brought out in you?
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
At noon on November 16 a trio of acrobats from Broadway Sacramento’s upcoming production of Cirque Dreams Holidaze will entertain lunchtime crowds for free with their acrobatic skills. The acrobats from Uzbekistan will showcase their hand balancing feats as a preview to their show coming to the Community Center Theater December 29-January 3.
Drag Queens on Ice
Outword Magazine will host a charity LGBT night, Drag Queens On Ice, at the ice rink on November 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. This all ages event will benefit the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center, NorCal AIDS Cycle, and CGNIE, and will be hosted by local drag queens Felicity Diamonds and Rusty Nails. 100 percent of the money raised during the 2-hour event will benefit your choice of the aforementioned organizations. Tickets are $5 per person in advance and includes admission and skate rental.
Harry Potter 7 Horcrux Hunt
Muggles beware. Wizards and witches will take over the ice rink on November 18 for Harry Potter Night at the rink. Costumed characters receive free skate rentals between 4 to 8 pm. To celerate the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part I, the ice rink has teamed up with the Esquire IMAX Theatre for the Harry Potter 7 Horcrux Hunt. The Horcrux Hunt begins at 8 p.m. at the ice rink. Witches and wizards will be guided by a series of riddles leading them to the seven Horcruxes hidden throughout Downtown. Teams will have until 11 p.m. to complete their quest and meet at the Esquire IMAX Theatre. Teams will use smartphones instead of wands to post their photos on Twitter using QR codes as they complete each task.
The rink will be open daily November 5 through January 17. Regular admission to the ice rink is $8 for a two-hour session and $2 for skate rental. The Ice Rink offers parking validations for the Westfield Downtown Plaza garages located at 5th & J streets and 4th & L streets.
For more event and contact information:
Lisa Martinez or Kelsey Perry
It was nearly six-oclock on a November evening, but the large corner restaurant had all its extra-large windows open wide. The unusually mild weather made the temperature outside feel the same as inside, so there seemed no separation from enclosure to community… Which is exactly what the owners of Zocalo (which means “town square or plaza”) had in mind.
It wasn’t crowded so the service was especially fast and my Chicken & Avocado Salad arrived speedily and in one piece. By ‘one piece’ I exaggerate, yes, but not by much because I literally needed a cutting board to cut the sizeable chuncks down to more edible sizes. Aside from the time-consuming labor-intensiveness of it, the salad was delicious and I found nothing more to complain about. Everyone at the table, in fact, was heartily satisfied with their meal, the chips and trio of dips (mild, hot & black bean), and unlimited sodas for the (20-year-old) kids.
For cocktail connoisseurs the highly-reputed mojito should be mentioned, but at $9 and $10 a pop, they cost nearly as much as a meal – and that always makes it hard for me to justify. But for the sake of full disclosure, Zocalo’s meal prices range well above the mojito from $14 to the high 20s, so one might wonder if my quandary still existed…
Regardless, the mojitos are good, the ambiance is grandiose and exotic-feeling, and Zocalo knows how to create a quality experience that takes you away while putting you right in the middle of it all. Personally, however, I’ve been here too many times when it was standing room only so highly recommend trying it on a weeknight or off time. Perhaps when Fall really truly arrives… I’m seeing a drizzly day, a late lunch, and a quiet, cozy table for two….
Zocalo is located on the corner of 18th & Capitol in Midtown Sacramento. Check out their ’2 for $20′ menu on Tuesdays. 916-441-0303, http://www.ZocaloSacramento.com
I wonder how long this coffee trend will last. I mean, now that frozen yogurt is coming back into style and all. Or maybe, they can co-exist peacefully. I’m an optimist, but the realist on my shoulder knows that nothing lasts forever… but it always comes back too.
Sacramento is a coffee shop-spotted creature, with both chains and independent cafes occupying the same streets, blocks and neighborhoods, and business people and hip artsy folks peacefully sitting side by side.
For me, a cool and comfy coffee shop is one place I actually prefer to visit alone, the inspiration pouring from me like espresso from a spout. Then again, it’s a perfect place to meet a friend or have a casual meeting. I really like the indoor/outdoor options, too, like getting two places for the price of one, should the inspiration – or conversation – last throughout the morning.
There are so many notable coffee shops to mention in the greater Sacramento area, so I’ll just mention a few I’ve been to recently and a few I’d like to try based on reputation/word of mouth:
Old Soul at The Weatherstone [812 21st St.] – Brick building, smallish garden-like patio, smokers, quiet neighborhood setting…
Naked Lounge [1500 Q St.] – View of the park, comfy velveteen chairs and sofas, special tea drinks, large scones…
Temple [1014 10th St.] – Comfortable feeling, cool building, quality drinks, friendly service…
Chocolate Fish Coffee [3rd & Q St.] – Surf videos, good coffee, modern décor…
Maestro Coffeehouse [2060 Arena] – Strip mall, elegant, personal touch…
Coffee Works Inc [3418 Folsom Blvd.] – Exotic, earthy atmosphere, independent, friendly…
*One word of caution: Barristas in general are not always friendly or really interested in who you are or why you’re there. If this matters to you, frequent the places most hailed as “friendly”. If you know why this attitude exists and pervades some coffee houses but not others, do fill the rest of us in. P.S. Sometimes ‘hung over’ can be mistaken for indifference, so I’m told.
The size and feel of West Sacramento’s Raley Field make it accessible, approachable, maneuverable and comfortable… all the while being good old-fashioned fun, and occassionally even downright electric.
Something about Raley Field’s ambiance is so fitting for Sacramento; it’s a perfect way to spend a warm summer evening while overlooking the city lights and yet still feeling the small town charm.
Although I haven’t mentioned it yet, I’m talking specifically about RiverCats games – Sacramento’s high ranking minor league baseball team. But there are also other ways to enjoy Raley Field all summer long… With concerts like the Scorpions and Steve Miller Band, Raley Field again provides a comfortable, intimate setting, perfect for rocking out or soaking up the scene(ery).
400 Ballpark Drive
West Sacramento, CA 95691
I snapped this shot while attending Reiff’s Annual Street Bash and car show in Woodland a few weeks ago. Touring the house – which is much more museum than home – I suddenly recalled being there as a child, soaking all the sights up with my eyes while my dad traded antique stories with Reiff. Putting the memory to a literal place, town and face, I felt my younger self coming full circle.
The block party is fun, but you can get a more intimate tour of the architectural artwork any time of the year. Just let Reiff know you’re coming, and I wouldn’t recommend rolling up on empty. http://www.reiffsgasstation.com
Since we’re on the topic of cars, here are some more pix; some taken at Reiff’s party and others taken outside Elkhorn Station. Elkhorn Station, by the way, is a rural escape with great food, sprawling views, live music and no pretense. On the River Road and just off the I-5, it’s the closest thing to the Sacramento Airport next to fields and more fields. It has some history, but you’ll have to Google it to get more info, as I didn’t find a website. Or just ask the guy driving the tractor in the middle of the road which way to the cold beer.